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BHE committee establishes timeline on NDSCS performance audit


The audit committee of the state Board of Higher Education has established a timeline for North Dakota State College of Science president John Richman to formally respond to a performance audit.

That audit – done by the state Auditor’s office – says NDSCS engaged in “inappropriate activities” with regards to its career workforce academy. The report said the academy is overstating its results and not meeting its goals. It also suggests a conflict of interest, because Fargo City Commissioner Tony Grindberg works for the college, and is married to the chief financial officer of Flint Communications, which the college hired to come up with a strategic plan.

"We want to insure the transparency, that NDSCS and President Richman have a chance to respond to the state auditor's report," Audit Committee chair Kathleen Neset said at a Tuesday meeting. "That will take some additional time."

Neset said the Committee will be asking for a formal response from the college May First. She said the Committee will meet May 15, and will take up a review of the auditor’s report and the response.  And the committee plans to make a report to the full Board by the end of May.

"I just want the people of NDSCS to know that we are working on their behalf," Neset said. "We will give the campus the opportunity to share its thoughts and responses. We will look at this very thoughtfully."

In his report, State Auditor Josh Gallion said the activities uncovered in the audit are “concerning” – and changes need to be made to get NDSCS “back on track.”

Earlier, Richman had issued a response, reported by KFGO.

"I disagree with many of the recommendations," Richman said. "I know all of our employees are well within compliance of not only State Board of Higher Education policies, but NDSCS policies, as well as North Dakota Century Code."

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